London postcode where the most parents have asked police if someone they know is a sex offender

Hundreds of parents have contacted the Metropolitan Police over the last six years over concerns someone they know is a sex offender
-Credit: (Image: Florian Gaertner/Photothek via Getty Images)

Hundreds of parents have asked the Metropolitan Police if someone they know is a paedophile in London. According to data provided to MyLondon under the Freedom of Information Act, more than 600 concerned parents, guardians and carers asked the London police force if someone in their area is a child sex offender between 2018 and 2024.

The requests can be made under Sarah's Law, which is a scheme that allows a concerned parent, guardian or carer of a child to check if an individual is a registered sex offender. Sarah's Law is named after eight-year old Sarah Payne, who was killed by a sex offender in 2000.

The scheme allows the public to ask about the history of a person who has access to their child, but each request for information is dealt with on a case-by-case basis. A third party such as a friend of a parent may make a request, but may not receive any information themselves as it is disclosed to the person best placed to protect the child.

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Sarah Payne, 8, school photo
Sarah Payne, 8, was abducted and murdered by a convicted paedophile in 2000 -Credit:PA

But the number of concerned parents is much higher in one area of London than anywhere else. Until 2022, the Metropolitan Police registered requests by borough, but this was changed to registering requests by postcode, grouping three to four boroughs together.

However, this shows the stark reality that there were far more worried family members in one London postcode over the last two years. The 'SN' postcode, which includes Bromley, Croydon and Sutton, saw a whopping 98 requests about potential paedophiles from 2022 through to 2024.

And, when combined with the data logged by police by borough for the years 2018 to 2022, this adds up to 125 requests made by worried parents to police about people in their area. In the SN postcode, the number jumps significantly between 2021 and 2022 - going from 13 requests in 2021 to 35 in 2022, then 49 in 2023.

This compares to the postcode with the next highest number of concerned parents, which is the 'SE' area of London, encompassing Bexley, Greenwich and Lewisham. There have been a total of 70 requests in the postcode since January 2022, which is 28 requests less than in SN.

This number rises to 93 when the previous four years' worth of data recorded by borough are included, again with the numbers jumping significantly in 2022.

In the boroughs of Kingston, Richmond, Merton and Wandsworth, all in the 'SW' (South West) London postcode, the number of requests under Sarah's Law has been recorded at 57, while in East London, the number of requests was just two fewer at 55 in the EA boroughs of Barking & Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge.

Area with least concerned parents

The postcode with the least-concerned parents was 'CN', which includes just two boroughs, Camden and Islington. There were just 15 requests made between 2022 and 2024, with none made this year so far, according to the FOI data.

This rises to 26 requests in total between 2018 and 2024, with just one request reported by police in the postcode in 2018. However, when providing the data to MyLondon, a representative from the data rights team at the London police force said: "It should be noted that the data is accurate from 2023 onwards."

They added that before this date the data was managed by various persons and that between 2018 and 2020, Sarah's Law applications were being incorrectly classified.

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